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Burning Lanka doesn't always work out well

Mar 24 (TOI) Diplomacy, it has been said, essentially involves lying for your country . By that logic, there is likely to be widespread sympathy for the complete loss of face for India's representative to the UNHRC in Geneva. Just about a week ago, India's envoy was busy engaging with the US and other countries on the draft of a resolution which, while paying token obeisance to Tamil victimhood, would not trigger a ferocious xenophobic reaction in the rest of Sri Lanka. more..

Tense Situation In Pottuvil Resolved

Mar 24 (SL) The site of a proposed dagoba in Pottuvil has been shifted to a different location following protests from Muslim residents in the area, it is learned. However, there seemed to have been little progress on the issue with the Army occupying a stretch of land which al so contained a school. The dagoba was originally to be constructed on a stretch of beach which was said to be a site of archaeological interest. The chairman of the village and the regional Jamaiyathul Ulama more..

'No call yet for Sicille’s extradition'

Mar 24 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt has so far not made an official intimation for the extradition of Mrs. Sicille Priya Kotelawala, a key suspect in the Rs. 26 billion Golden Key (GK) scam, says British High Commissioner, John Rankin. "While we are aware of the allegations against Mrs. Kotelawala, I should add that the UK has to date not received an extradition request from the Sri Lankan govt in relation to this case", he noted more..

Govt. finalises plans for northern polls

Mar 24 (ST) The Govt is going ahead with preparations for the Northern Provincial Council elections, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. Noting that this was one of the elements in Thursday’s resolution adopted by the UNHRC, he said, “We will no longer be facing allegations from India or from Geneva that we are delaying the elections. We were forced to delay the elections as some of the areas had not been demined. Since much of the demining has been completed we are now ready to more..

‘Ruling party politicos back Naadi mafia’

Mar 24 (NS) Top level and local govt politicians affiliated to the ruling party are alleged to be involved with the mafia that manipulates vegetable prices at key economic centers islandwide. The group known as the ‘Naadi mafia’ was said to be the hidden hand behind the artificial increase in vegetable prices. A highly placed source said investigations into the issue so far had revealed that the mafia was backed by prominent local govt and top level politicians of the UPFA. more..

Chinese firm gets major oil deal in Mattala, Hambantota

Mar 24 (ST) A Chinese firm has won the award to supply fuel to the airport in Mattala and the harbour at Hambantota for the pre-commissioning of a bunkering facility and tank farm. The winner, China Hanqui Contracting & Engineering Corporation, has just completed work on the project in Hambantota. The fuel requirements are for the pre-commissioning and testing of the facility before being handed over to the more..

SATHOSA beats big-name supermarkets hands down

Mar 24 (NS) Outlets operated by the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) better known by its Sinhala acronym, SATHOSA, offer far better prices on key provisions than well-established and better known supermarkets, a study carried out by the The Nation. As the table below shows, SATHOSA beats Cargills Food City, Keells Super and Arpico by considerable margins on many items. Keeri Samba, for example, is a rice variety that is found in SATHOSA at a price that is 20% less than more..

Pakistan celebrates its 74th National Day in Colombo

Mar 24 (Island) The High Commission of Pakistan and the Pakistani community based in Sri Lanka celebrated the 74th National Day of Pakistan with traditional fervor and resolve to make Pakistan a strong, vibrant, progressive and democratic Islamic welfare state. The National Day of Pakistan is celebrated every year on March 23 to commemorate the most outstanding achievement of the Muslims of South Asia who passed the historic "Pakistan Resolution" on this day at Lahore in 1940 more..

If resolution is not implemented, US may push for punitive action

Mar 24 (ST) Perhaps never before has a resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva brought a govt to the brink of collapse or allowed a country facing accusations to relax whilst others did diplomacy for it. That in essence is the action-packed saga of the second US-backed resolution approved by the Council. 25 countries voted in favour, 13 against, 8 abstained and there was one absentee from the 47 member Council. more..

America in no position to lecture Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (AN) The farce this week at the UN over a resolution that was supposed to condemn Sri Lanka’s war crimes against the Tamils reminds one of Iqbal’s observation. Defying public opinion at home and pressure from Tamil parties, the Indian govt has chickened out of a strong UN resolution confronting the Lankan govt. Instead, India, working with — surprise, surprise — Pakistan and China persuaded the United States to water down the UNHRC resolution. more..

Editorial : It’s competence, stupid!

Mar 24 (CT) No doubt how we fought in Geneva is even now being probed, dissected and evaluated. There are lessons aplenty to take from the multiple failures in our diplomacy, least of which is that parochial politics do not work in the international arena. If there was anything we learnt from the Geneva 2012 debacle, it was the importance of having the right people at the right place to do a proper job. But like the proverbial goldfish with a 5-second memory span, we commit the same more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 24 (ST) The opening of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) last Monday made him so ecstatic. At the nationally televised event, Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake was not international. It was the MRIA which had all the attributes of an international airport. He had reason to be so bubbly. It was only the day before the event that he had more..

Why SLC should stick with Taj TV

Mar 24 (NS) Nimbus and their subsidiary Neo TV have submitted the highest bid for the broadcasting rights of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for the next seven years, it is learnt. Nimbus submitted the highest offer, worth over US$53.5 million while Neo submitted a bid worth over US$52.5 million both of which are higher than the next closest bid of US$34.8 million by the current rights holder Taj TV (Ten Sports). However there are serious more..

MRIA opens in the middle of nowhere to empty skies

Mar 24 (ST) Chinese and Sri Lankan flags fluttered side by side at the opening of Sri Lanka’s second international airport last week. “China and Sri Lanka were traditional partners and good friends,” enthused Luo Fuhe, envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, punctuating each sentence with a benevolent smile. They were “brothers in one boat” and this relationship will endure well into the future. The distance, the gleaming new more..

Gota calls on SL’s critics to study the engineering of the invasion of Iraq

Mar 24 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that those wanting to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations propagated by the LTTE rump should examine the circumstances leading to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 by Western forces. Western govts and major media networks constantly quoted so called credible sources based in Iraq more..

Schoolgirls’ pictures on Facebook: Is anyone safe out there?

Mar 24 (ST) As the number of Facebook (FB) users increases in Sri Lanka, so does the number of complaints of misuse with seven cases a day being reported to the Police. The latest postings to send panic waves among teenage FB users and their parents and give rise to questions about privacy and the safety are a series of photographs of Sri Lankan schoolgirls in uniforms, with explicit comments in Sinhala and Tamil. more..

Sri Lanka accused of ongoing torture and abuse of Tamil prisoners

Mar 24 (Guardian) The torture of Tamil political prisoners is increasingly rife in Sri Lanka with some detainees dying in custody after suffering prolonged abuse, a new investigation claims. The findings will intensify pressure on Britain to withdraw from a controversial summit to be held in Sri Lanka later this year. Tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils have been held without trial since 2009, when Sri Lanka's military finally crushed more..

No love lost with G.L says special envoy

Mar 24 (CG) Canadian special envoy Senator Hugh Segal says he has not lost respect for Minister G.L Peiris despite the differences of opinion they had during a seminar in Colombo last Friday. Senator Segal told the Colombo Gazette that it was not surprising for him and Minister Peiris to disagree on Canada’s position with regards to the impeachment of former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake and on Commonwealth values. more..

TNA, DPF question recruitment of Tamils

Mar 24 (SL) The TNA and DPF insist that the recruitment of Tamil girls into the army was not conforming to military regulations. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, said the recruitment was highly irregular as there was no gazette notification and no posts were advertised. Meanwhile, DPF Deputy Leader, Dr Kumara Gurubaran, accused the army of violating the rights of these Tamil recruits, by separating them more..

The impending power hike

Mar 24 (CT) As Sri Lanka struggles to re-build its economy post-war, many question if the promising developments are merely a beguiling, superficial display – a resplendent show to attract tourists and project to the international community that Sri Lanka is progressing, while beneath the luring imagery, the citizens of the country suffer. The latest cause for concern is the proposal submitted by the CEB to increase more..

Sri Lanka not on CMAG agenda

Mar 24 (SL) In a sigh of relief to the govt, the Commonwealth Secretariat says Sri Lanka will not be on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting next month. Several attempts were made, especially by Canada, to include Sri Lanka on the agenda citing a poor human rights record and to push for a change of venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting (CHOGM) in November. more..

Report to reveal all

Mar 24 (SL) The report into the Welikada prison clash is expected to make startling revelations forcing the authorities to keep most of the contents out of public domain. Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera said the three-member committee report includes details about the conduct of the prison guards before and during the riot. The riot at the Welikada prison last November left 27 dead and over 40 injured. Allegations were raised against the conduct of the prison guards during the riot. more..

No truth to reports – Divaratne

Mar 24 (SL) The Secretary of the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement, Development and Security of the Northern Province, S. B. Divaratne, said there is no truth to reports that land in some areas is being allocated for the resettled families based on ethnicity. “Since, several allegations levelled against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen in recent news items, and the matters raised therein to the effect that, forest lands are being grabbed on the basis of ethnicity and when all measures in more..

Indian defence analyst identifies possible witch-hunt targets

Mar 24 (Island) The Sri Lankan Govt may continue to stonewall the global community’s demand for a credible and independent investigation into the excesses committed by its security forces during the last phase of Eelam War IV in 2009, according to defence analysts here. This may be because such a probe will expose the crucial roles played by President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself, his brother and more..

Mujibur lashes out at govt for triggering anti-muslim sentiments

Mar 24 (NS) The Govt not taking action against anti-Muslim extremists is proof that the very authority could be backing such prejudicial campaigns, Member of Western Provincial Council, Mujibur Rahman alleged. The Provincial councilor claimed they were launching their Hartal- peaceful protest tomorrow urging the govt to intervene and settle the unrest between communities at national level. “The govt appears least bothered about one community trying to become superior over the rest. more..

Bar Association of India writes to President about CJ’s impeachment

Mar 24 (Island) The Bar Association Union has written to President Rajapaksa expressing "concern and apprehension" regarding the impeachment and removal of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. The Lawyers Collective released the text of the Feb 25 letter of Mr. Anil Divan, President of the Bar Association of India which is the premier voluntary association of lawyers in India. The letter said that the association "is greatly concerned" by CJ Bandaranayake’s removal "without going into either more..

President Rajapaksa declares open Kalladi Bridge linking East and South

Mar 24 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the new Kalladi Bridge which links the Batticaloa and the Ampara Districts on Friday afternoon (22). It is another dream of the people of the East has been realized by opening this new Bridge after elimination of terrorism. The two lane new Kalladi Bridge with two pedestrian and bicycle lanes, linking the South and the East constructed in parallel to the 112 year old more..

Rangiri Dambulla mahanayake slams govt

Mar 24 (SL) The Mahanayake of the Rangiri Dambulla Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya, the Venerable Inamaluwe Sri Sumangala Thera accused the government of misusing land that was donated by the temple. The Venerable Mahanayake said the Rangiri Dambulla sacred area development commenced in 1982 under the leadership of the then Prime Minister, R. Premadasa. The development project continued erratically over a period of 30-years. All the surrounding land more..

The Malu to Paan ratio

Mar 24 (NS) Malu Paan. It’s the unsung hero of Sri Lankan cuisine. And like all great foods - actually, just fried rice - malu paan was likely born of the ashes of last night’s dinner. The dreggy leftovers of a fish curry, bits of vegetable and the last ala standing of the thel dala all smushed into a pastey mix and stuffed inside a ball of dough, the corners smoothed into sharp points by achchi’s wrinkled fingers. This is malu paan. A soft-bunned, triangular short eat staple. more..

Tamil Nadu on the boil

Mar 24 (CT) Similar to the time when Sri Lanka stepped up the military engagements in 2008 against the LTTE, when some 11 citizens of Tamil Nadu sacrificed their lives in dramatic form for the Tamil cause – in one week, two more lives have been lost, in similar fashion and for the same cause. Vikram, the latest victim, died on Thursday night from severe burn injuries, while earlier this month, Mani of Cuddalore District died after he set more..

Injured Tamim out of remaining ODIs

Mar 24 (CI) Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladesh batsman, has been ruled out of the rest of the ODI series against Sri Lanka due to a hairline fracture on his right thumb. Tamim picked up the injury while fielding in the first ODI in Hambantota, a match in which he had earlier hit his first one-day century in three years. Tamim was hurt attempting to stop a powerful shot from Kushal Perera in the seventh over of the chase. He started wringing his hand in pain after being struck by the ball and more..

Clarification on 'Religion Based Schools'

Mar 24 (NS) JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana thera says that he suspects whether public get a wrong impression over the news item titled “Religion based schools a threat” which appeared in our last week issue. Ven. Thera needs to clarify the issue and we reproduce what he got to say. “What I meant was that the education system that exists now opens the door for radicalization due to various fundamentalist religious sects from other religions controlling many schools in the country under the guise of more..

No plans to shift IPL matches out of Chennai

Mar 24 (IANS) The Indian cricket board has no plans to shift Indian Premier League (IPL) matches out of Chennai despite threats by Tamil activists to disrupt games involving Sri Lankan players. "As of now the matches will be held in Chennai. We have no plans to shift them out," Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer of the BCCI said. Street protests have taken place in Tamil Nadu to denounce the killings of Tamil more..

NTC toothless to punish wrongdoers

Mar 24 (NS) The National Transport Commission (NTC) has once again been mired in a corruption scandal with at least three employees being investigated on bribery charges. However, questions have arisen as to why the three employees have not been suspended despite two of them being taken into custody and produced before courts. Two employees of the NTC were recently arrested by the police for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.1.5 million to issue a route permit outside more..

Maggi voted ‘Food Brand of the Year’

Mar 24 (Island) Maggi, Nestlé Lanka’s was voted by Sri Lankan consumers as ‘Food Brand of the Year’ and ‘Youth Food Brand of the Year’ at the SLIM-Nielsen People’s Awards 2013. Delighting generations of Sri Lankans since 1984, Maggi ‘two minutes’ noodles has been a trusted Sri Lankan household favourite for many years, winning the hearts of Sri Lankan adults and children alike. With the instant success of the Maggi Devilled range, an indigenous, fiery, hot and spicy more..

Gota to head panel on dual citizenship

Mar 24 (ST) A new, more rigorous scheme to permit dual citizenship in Sri Lanka will involve a powerful panel headed by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Senior govt officials said pre-screening to check the eligibility of a person applying for dual citizenship would involve a one-to-one interview with this panel which would include the Secretaries to the Ministries of External Affairs and Public Administration. Earlier last year, more..

Manilal tight-lipped on FIFA ban

Mar 24 (NS) Long-time soccer administrator Manilal Fernando, who has been in a cloud of controversy of late, was tight-lipped on the 90-day ban imposed on him by the world controlling body of football, FIFA. “I cannot speak on the matter since I’m still in consultations with my lawyers after which I will be issuing a statement to the media,” Fernando said yesterday when asked for his comments. He hit a patch of controversy in the last fortnight when Sports Minister Aluthgamage dissolved more..

Sri Lanka vehicle registrations hits new low

Mar 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's vehicle registrations hit new low of 23,544 in February 2013, down 44% from a year earlier, after taxes were hiked to curb imports, an analysis by an equities research house shows. Registrations of Maruti Zen models were down 88 percent in February 2013 from a year earlier and BMW 5-series was up 411%. Car registrations, which were recovered from a low of 1,076 in October 2012 to reach 1,435 in January 2013 plunged again to 1,058 in February, more..

BBS insists Lanka not multiracial

Mar 24 (CG) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) says Sri Lanka is not a multiracial or multi-religious country but a Sinhala Budhist country. Speaking at the Bodu Bala Sena convention in Panadura today, the venerable Medagoda Abayathissa thero urged the Sinhalese to protect the nation and not let other races or religions to take over. The monk also urged Sinhalese families to have at least 5-6 children so that the more..

MRIA commences flight schedules from Friday

Mar 24 (ST) The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) commenced its scheduled flight arrivals and departures on Friday morning, four days after it officially opened on March 18. The new airport had to go through a thorough clean-up prior to commencing operations after the opening day’s ceremony that took place amidst much celebration. MRIA Airport Manager H.S. Hettiarachchi said that a fair number of passengers are checking-in and out from the newly constructed airport. more..